(Natural News) Made from ground, dry roasted peanuts, peanut butter is one of the most popular spreads around the world. It can be consumed at any time of the day, but consuming it at night before bed in moderation can give you the following benefits.
Although peanut butter is high in fat – containing nearly 100 calories in every tablespoon – it can still help you lose weight by controlling your appetite. Research shows that eating tree nuts or peanuts before a meal or as a snack can help you feel fuller for longer periods. This results in eating less, which can also help you lose weight overall. Peanut butter can also help with weight loss by managing your blood sugar levels. Eating processed and starchy foods can cause unstable blood sugar levels, which has been associated with obesity and diabetes. Peanut butter, although naturally sweet, has a low glycemic index. Eating peanut butter allows you to consume healthy fats, protein, and fiber without causing blood sugar spikes.
One of the best desserts to eat after dinner is peanut butter because it can help you sleep better. It is loaded with an amino acid known as tryptophan, which helps release serotonin that has a calming effect on the brain. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain as they promote the release of insulin, which indirectly helps send this amino acid across the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, carbohydrate-rich meals induce sleep. Try spreading peanut butter on half of a whole wheat bagel to get those sleep-inducing carbs.
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Got hungry late at night? Avoid snacking on unhealthy food, which results in increased calorie intake and weight gain. Instead, eat foods rich in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients and do not contain over 200 calories. Having five whole grain crackers with one tablespoon of peanut butter is an ideal late-night snack. If you want, you can also snack on two tablespoons of unsalted peanut butter which provides 188 calories, 8 g protein, and 1.9 g fiber. It can help curb your hunger without making you feel bloated. (Related: Three ways to enjoy healthy, natural peanut butter.)
Having peanut butter before bed can also help you build muscles. Research shows that consuming proteins, such as peanut butter, at night can contribute to muscle growth. During sleep, muscles undergo repair and go. At the same time, growth hormones increase. People who consumed proteins before bed experienced better muscle recovery than those who took proteins after a workout, according to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Another study revealed that participants who drank a protein drink experienced enhanced muscle growth, muscle strength, and muscle fiber size. However, peanut butter is still high in calories so it should not be the only source of proteins in your diet. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from proteins. Generally, you should have 0.8 g protein per kg of body weight. However, if you are an athlete, you should have 1.3 to 1.8 g/kg.
You can reap these benefits of eating peanut butter if you choose the right kind. When buying peanut butter, make sure that it is organic and contains only peanuts. Natural peanut butter will reduce your exposure to chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This also should not include any unnecessary ingredients like sugars and oils that can do more harm than good to your health. You can also make your own peanut butter by blending peanuts until a paste forms. Then, put a little salt, cinnamon, or vanilla to add some flavor to it.